Friday, June 18, 2021

Visits and Virtual Life and Escapes, from Labs and Otherwise

It has been quite a week, the kind of week that leaves me wrung out and exhausted.  Am I trying to do too much?  I have been doing my regular job while also doing an onground intensive for my spiritual direction certificate program; for more on that experience, see this blog post.  I have also been working on getting rental documents together, which is a much more involved process than it once was, and getting registered for seminary classes in the fall.

In this blog post, let me collect some odds and ends and fragments:

--I am listening to an episode of Fresh Air that looks at the possibility that COVID-19 escaped from a lab in China.  At first I dismissed that idea as kookiness, but the more I hear and read, the more intrigued/horrified I am.  I would say it's like a plot line from a movie, but so much of this disease seems like plot lines from a movie script, a script that got rejected because it was too boring or because it lacked believability--or both.  What a very strange year.

--Yesterday morning I went to a meeting virtually.  We spent over an hour listening to our new process about how we will house our accreditation documents.  I'm fine with a new process, as our old way wasn't very user-friendly.  But our new way involves a shared drive that I don't have access to.  I can get access, of course, but it seems like an ominous sign, a bad beginning:  "Go to this section of your computer, and you'll see the drive.  Let's take a tour!"  The process will involve lots of uploading of documents, hundreds and hundreds of pages, while also collecting other materials and uploading, while also analyzing the current data and writing the end of accreditation year reports, while also doing the work of teaching current students.  The meeting left one of my department chairs in tears, and I wasn't far from it myself.

--On top of all of this, we will be preparing for a visit from accreditors.  Our self-study is due in November.  We knew that the sale of the school would trigger a visit, but hearing the haranguing pep talk about how we must gird our loins to get ready--just dispiriting.

--You might ask, "Wait--isn't your campus closing?"  Yes, and later in the day, I made a phone call--no need to disrupt a multi-campus meeting with a question that's only relevant to one campus.  So, yes, according to most timelines, the visit would happen after my campus has closed, but we might still need some/most (perhaps none) of the documents, depending on decisions that have yet to be made.  Or maybe they've been made and not communicated.

--And then, after the meeting that left us in tears, I went to a brief workshop on Ignatian questions:  "Is this life giving?  Is this bringing me joy?"  The presenter was talking about how she used these questions to discern a major life change, going from being a pastor to a seminary professor.  I thought about the accreditation meeting I had just attended, the work ahead, work for a campus that is closing, work that might not be necessary at all. 

--But let me end on a happy note.  Happy Juneteenth which will be celebrated on Friday this year, since the holiday is tomorrow!  Happy new federal holiday!  Amazing that it happened this quickly, that the branches of government were able to agree and enact this legislation.

No comments: